Get Motivated to Organize!

Let’s play a word association game. I say “organize” and you think…Yuk? Boring? No time?

Well what if I told you there are some people who think it’s fun? Organizing is one of those things like exercising and paying taxes that we all have to do at some time in our life, so why not make it fun? And yes there is a small majority of the population that already enjoys organizing. Did you catch Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory recently? He begged Leonard, “Oh please, can’t I stay just five more minutes?” when he was organizing Howard’s closet. I like to believe you don’t have to be a geek to enjoy organizing.

So for those of you who don’t long to get your hands on a labeler and sorting bins, I offer the following motivation for you and your family to get motivated to organize and have some fun in the process.

1. Set a time limit. Don’t make an organizing project an endless weekend of drudgery, but then again don’t fool yourself and think you can answer the phone, or run out and do a quick errand in the middle of a project. Typical limits are 6-8 hours for a full room overhaul and about 2-3 hours for a typical closet. Set a timer and try to beat the clock. Turn off the phones & TV’s and any other distractions. Do put on some music with a fast beat, have a drink and a snack ready when you start. When time starts to run out, make the music faster and challenge yourself to get it done. (My family cleans out the garage twice a year and we can now get it done in 1.5 hours)

2. Enlist some help. If you have kids and a spouse, get them involved! Or if you’d rather, ask a girl friend to help you and then you can help her with one of her projects. Delegate duties based on everyone’s personality. A big burly husband can do the heavy lifting. A kid who can’t keep still can be the one to drag boxes or bags of donations out to the car. A person who likes to sit in one place can sort or shred papers or make labels. When the project is finished, take everyone out for a meal or a special treat. (pizza and ice cream are always crowd pleasers)

3. Treat yourself. When you’ve completed a room that could use a little sprucing up, go shopping for new curtains, a nice picture, a plant or throw pillows. (I love Home Goods for this stuff)Finish your closet and go shopping for clothes that you need, but not too much! It’s your reward for an organizing project well done. I say make room for the good stuff. Many of my clients tell me after a room is finished, they keep going back to it just to enjoy how it looks! When you finish your closet, it’s like getting a new wardrobe.

4. Make it a game. When my kids were toddlers, I would trick them into picking up the toys. We had different colored round tubs for each category: one for stuffed animals, another for balls and so on. I’d ask my daughter to pick up the stuffed animals, my son to pick up the balls and they would shoot them like basketballs into the right container. (Nothing like a little sibling competition to finish first or get the most in)

5. Make some money. The first time I had my boys clean out the toy bin, I sold their give-aways at a children’s consignment shop and told them they could keep the money. They each made $25 and they were more motivated to do it again the next year! Check out local consignment shops to see what you could sell from your unused clothing, household items and toys. Money is always a motivator.

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